China trade surplus shrinks in January

| February 14, 2011

Official figures have today revealed Chinese imports soared by 51% in January compared with a year ago – far exceeding forecasts of a 28% increase.

Meanwhile, exports grew 38% in January on an annual basis, according to the customs authorities. Again, this easily beat expectations of a 22.4% rise.

The strong rise in imports led Chinaa��s trade surplus to fall to a nine-month low of $6.5 billion (A?4.06 billion ) from $13.1 billion in December.

Analysts had expected it to be around the $12 billion mark.

The figures are closely watched because the US has previously accused China of manipulating its currency to boost exports.

Trade groups have argued that Chinaa��s currency, the yuan, also referred to as the renminbi, is kept up to 40% below what its value should be against the US dollar.

Beijing loosened its currency peg last June but the US has remarked that the yuan has appreciated just 3.5% against the dollar since that time.

In other news today, it has been revealed that China has now officially become the worlda��s second largest economy a�� taking over from Japan, which slides into the third place.

At the end of 2010, Japana��s economy was worth $5.474 trillion (A?3.414 trillion), while the Chinese economy was worth $5.8 trillion at the end of last year.

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